7 Effective Steps To Return To The Workforce
You had a successful career and then you took time off to raise a family, go back to school, or focus on other endeavors. Now, you are ready to return to the workforce. How do you go back? How do you find a job when you have a big gap in your work experience on your resume?
Here are 7 effective steps to return to the workforce after being gone.
1. Assess your situation. Determine what your needs and wants are when it comes to work, advises Mandy Unanski Enright, MS, RDN, RYT, Team with ME: Nutrition & Fitness and Creator of Nutrition Nuptials. Your views and goals may have changed since last working. By figuring out what your ideal job may be and what type of working environment you would like to have, you will have a better focus on what jobs to look for. Enright returned to the workforce after attending school for a career change and asked herself all the right questions such as full time or part time work? What population did she want to serve? What environment: clinical, academia, media, sales, etc? Weekends or weekday work?
2. Gain confidence. Many times, people who have not worked for a while have lost their confidence in their belief that they will do a good job. People may think they don’t have the right skills or technology needed. Get rid of these thoughts. Surround yourself with people who uplift you and practice your elevator speeches and “selling” yourself with them.
3. Update your skills and technology. Madeleine Berg, MS, RDN, CDN, The SuperNutritionist, has personal experience returning to the workforce after being gone to raise her family. Berg recommends a “brain refresh.” For example, you can attend a webinar to learn or you can also jump back into the workforce and present a webinar like she did for Dietitian Central. She also had to retake the RDN exam. Updates can grow confidence and skill sets.
4. Resume Makeover. Update your resume or curriculum vitae and make all your experience matter. Take the previous jobs or volunteer positions you had and use them as leverage for selling points as to why you should get hired for the jobs you apply to, instructs Enright. Berg also suggests filling in the gaps between jobs by highlighting relevant skills you have.
5. Faux Interviews. Being prepared for an interview question is helpful. Think of potential interview questions that may be asked such as why there is a gap in your work experience. Berg proposes “to practice your answers to questions you will likely be asked out loud. You want to present yourself as a confident professional.”
6. Network. Network. Many times, getting your foot in the door is all about who you know or who recommended you. Both Berg and Enright never stopped networking even during their work hiatus. “You never know who you’re going to encounter, so don’t be afraid to talk about what you do,” states Enright. She is constantly introducing herself at meetings, conferences, yoga salons, etc, to meet new people and make connections. Berg mentions that her resume would get read when she had a personal connection at the place she was applying to versus finding a job online where her resume seemed to fall into a black hole.
7. Persevere. Determination is necessary in order to keep on going even if you get rejected. Our enthusiasm and optimism can dwindle when we are told “no” or we are denied. Accept that this is part of the growing process and you will find your ideal job. Take each opportunity you have as a flourishing experience and use it to learn about what gaps you need to fill in your presentation.
Remember: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” Winston Churchill.